Get off the sofa to beat the blues

COUCH potatoes in Northumberland have been urged to leave the sofa behind to help beat the winter blues.

Bosses at NHS North East say that exercise is an ideal way to boost people’s spirits as it increases the levels of feel-good endorphins in the body.

And other benefits can include reducing stress, building up the immune system, increasing metabolism, losing weight and improving energy levels.

Acting Regional Director of Public Health Professor Peter Kelly said: “Exercise is a great way of boosting your mood during the dark winter months.

“Physical exercise has been proven to combat depression, and when it comes to getting active it really is true that every little helps.

“Ideally, people should aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week, but you don’t have to do it all in one go.

“Short bursts of activity throughout the day still count and all add up to the total amount.”

For the activity to count, it should make you feel warm and slightly out of breath.

Tips include taking a walk at lunchtime, trying low-impact exercise such as yoga or pilates, cycling or walking to work, or getting off the bus a stop earlier, carrying out housework and getting a pedometer to measure the number of steps you take each day and gradually increasing them.